Lazy Jones

What a superb game this was when it got released and to many true retro-gamers out there still is!  Lazy Jones is definitely one of those games that once you start playing is hard to put down.

The best way to describe it is as a multi-game, within a game, it will become more apparent as you read on.  Written by David Whittaker for Terminal Software in 1984 this is certainly one for you retro gamers out there as it was available on most systems like the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, MSX and Tatung Einstein.

Lazy Jones takes place in a Hotel where you control a lazy hotel employee who likes nothing more than to avoid doing any work by sneaking into the hotel rooms to play video games instead.  I’ve never come across a hotel like this with just a video game in each room but it sounds good to me!

The game starts with you guiding the character along one of the three floors in the hotel.  Each floor has six rooms, three either side of a central elevator and the elevator allows you to access the other two floors.  A few things you need to watch out for is the current hotel manager on the top floor who is constantly looking out for you, the ghost of the previous manager on the bottom floor, and a haunted cleaning cart on the middle floor.  The enemies only walk around and do not pursue you, but contact with them is fatal.

Fourteen of the rooms believe it or not have fourteen completely different playable games but unfortunately and quite surprisingly David ran out of ideas for the three remaining rooms so he came up with the idea of a hotel bar which is sort of a points collating room, a bed, a cleaning closet that he strangely walks in, has a look around and walks out of again and a toilet where he goes for a pee.  All this backed up with some great sound tracks, who could ask for more . . .

 

The fourteens room/games are:

 

  • Laser Jones:               A Space Invaders clone where the aliens do not shoot back at you.
  • Eggie Chuck:              A simplified Chuckie Egg clone.
  • Wipeout:                      A simplified Breakout clone.
  • 99 Red Balloons:        Red balloons continuously fly towards the top of the screen.  You have to grab hold of two balloons to fly upwards, to get to kiss a woman.  Then you need to grab hold of one balloon to fly back down to kiss another woman.  A bow constantly moving will try to shoot arrows at you to puncture your balloons.
  • Jay Walk:                    A simplified Frogger clone.  You have to cross a street without getting run over, once there you get to kiss a woman.  Then you cross the street back to kiss another woman.  How good is that!
  • Outland:                       A very simple shoot ’em up.  Just shoot the Spaceships as they descend from the skies to score points.
  • Res Q:                           A simplified H.E.R.O. clone.  This is a game of skill where you have to rescue men trapped in a cave without touching the cave walls.
  • Scoot:                            A game of skill where you have to steer some kind of hovercraft in a cave.
  • Star Dust:                    A shoot ’em up where you can shoot balls of dust.
  • The Hills Are Alive:   A shoot ’em up very similar to Outland except this time the spaceships fly horizontally.
  • The Reflex:                   Bones fly down from the top of the screen and you have to bounce them back up.
  • The Turk:                     This is one of the strangest games in the game.  Roast turkeys travel along a conveyor belt and you have to skewer them with a fork to score points but to make it a little harder a telephone flies diagonally around the screen, getting in the way of your fork. How random is that!
  • The Wall:                      A simplified Snake clone.  You must steer a continuously growing garden wall without hitting yourself, the screen boundaries, or any of the plants.
  • Wild Wafers:               A shoot ’em up where blast spinning wafers to score points.

Written by: Tony Lyon

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  1. Greg McRetro July 24, 2014 |

    Nice to know: the tune from Star Dust was used by Zombie Nation in their song Kernkraft 400 from 1999…! Also, the other way around, David Whittaker used tunes from 80s songs like Fade To Grey by Visage (for Wild Wafers) and 99 Luftballons by Nena (for 99 Red Balloons)

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